A couple of cougar sightings over the past week has caused the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Recreation Sites and Trail BC to shut down part of the Pulpit Rock Trail.
“We had two reports, one was a report yesterday and then we received third-hand information that a similar encounter happened in that same general area quite high on the mountain about three days ago,” said Conservation Officer, Jason Hawkes.
Hawkes put in his recommendation to the RDCK to close the portion of the trail from Pulpit Rock towards the Flagpole and CBC tower.
“I made a recommendation to the Regional District and to Recreation Sites and Trails that the upper trail will be closed for at least two weeks and then reassessment after two weeks just to ensure that there are no future issues up there,” said Hawkes. “What I recommended is that the lower trail, so the Pulpit Rock Trail that goes from the parking lot off Johnstone road to that first stretch, that should remain open as long as people report to the Conservation Office RAP line that they encounter a cougar.”
Hawkes is not ruling out the possibility of cougars being in the lower part of the trail but did give some safety tips if you do come across one while out hiking.
“If people do encounter cougars, the first thing to do is to stop, stay calm, don’t turn your back, and run. Maintain eye contact, look big, yell, and be assertive. Back away slowly but in an unlikely event you are attacked obviously fight back.”
If anyone comes across a cougar or any other wildlife that is acting unnormal or threatening, call the BC Conservation Office at 1-877-952-7277.